One of the most unique and stunning caves to be discovered in the 21st century is the “Cave of Crystals” deep in the Mexican mountains. The heavy beams of translucent crystals dwarf the humans that are tempted to go inside.
The crystals actually produce a deadly gas that traps itself inside; creating a hot, humid and dangerous human pit of despair. But the beauty of this place is mind-numbing and those that have ventured into it are simply amazed.
Though the cave has been emptied of its interior water in 1975, it wasn’t until the year 2000 that anyone ever took a look inside. At the time, nobody could figure out why the cave was stifling hot, but the truth has slowly come to light, and today that reality is the gas which is trapped inside of the massive crystal formations.
Some beams of crystals are a meter-thick, made of stunning gypsum and are part of Mexico’s Naica mines, deep in the mountainous regions of this baron land.
Findings about these giant ancient crystals will be explored at the International Union of Crystallography – Congress and General Assembly meeting this week in Montreal, Canada.
Tiny gases trapped inside the crystals are revealing secrets about crystal growth and morphology under conditions difficult to replicate within a laboratory because of the amount of time required to grow crystals of that enormous size.
Juan Manuel García-Ruiz, a researcher for Spain’s National Research Council at the University of Grenada, is examining how minerals can provide answers to questions about primitive life detection and the origins of life on Earth.
“In Naica, several geologic conditions have been fulfilled to form the giant crystals — including the existence of two minerals with reverse solubility vs. temperature, a hot point, and very slow cooling for thousands of years,” García-Ruiz says.
“Under similar conditions to the primitive Earth, silica interacts with carbonates to form complex … inorganic structures with shapes that are indistinguishable from those considered to be remnants of the oldest life on Earth,” García-Ruiz said
Though this technical jargon is great, it simply does little for those that are infatuated by the beauty of the inner earth. These crystals and the entire formation of the cave are truly the 8th wonder of the world.